Citta’s blasts lift Kansas to victory over West Virginia
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta accomplished a feat no other Jayhawk had done since 2016, as the Kansas baseball team defeated West Virginia, 13-3, Saturday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.
Citta rocketed two home runs to center field in his final two at bats to double his season home run total (4) and finish the day 3-for-5, adding in a double. He drove in a career-best five RBIs and touched home three times to match his personal best.
“I have made a few adjustments with my swing lately and its starting to pay off,” Citta said. “It also helps the wind wasn’t blowing dead in for once.”
The wind wasn’t blowing in and the hits were plentiful for the Jayhawks with the middle of the order, junior left fielder Devin Foyle, Citta and sophomore designated hitter Brett Vosik, combining for an 8-for-12 performance with four doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored.
Foyle’s day ended with a 3-for-4 mark at the dish with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored, while Vosik batted 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks, two RBIs and two runs scored.
“When those guys swing the bat, we win,” head coach Ritch Price said. “They are the best offensive players on our club. There is a thing about this game. Yesterday, West Virginia’s impact players were huge and contributed. Today, our impact players contributed and as a result, we put 13 runs on the board.”
Those impact players for Kansas (21-25, 4-12 Big 12) didn’t just come at the plate, but also on the mound in sophomore righty Ryan Zeferjahn (7-3).
Zeferjahn carried the team with a seven-inning quality start with his only blemish coming in the second via a two-run home run by West Virginia (24-20, 7-10 Big 12). After that, he threw up five zeroes and ended his day with eight strikeouts – none more important than the back-to-back K’s to end the sixth.
The Mountaineers got runners to second and third with one out in the top of the sixth inning after a hit-by-pitch and a ground-rule double. At the time, KU led 5-2. Zeferjahn dug deep and fanned the next two batters he faced to send his team into the dugout with all the momentum.
That momentum turned into a six-spot on offense and put the game out of reach for WVU to recover.
“After getting boat raced like we did yesterday, we needed a quality start on the mound,” Price said. “For Zeferjahn to walk out there and be as dominant as he was for seven innings was really special. He picked up the entire team and put them on his back today.”
The rubber match between Kansas and West Virginia is slated for a 12 p.m. first pitch Sunday, May 6. Fans can watch the action on the Jayhawk Television Network or tune into the audio broadcast on the Jayhawk Radio Network via KUAthletics.com/Radio.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two dingers: Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Brendt Citta hit two home runs to turn in a career-high five RBIs and double his season home run total (4). Those two bombs for Citta mark the first multi-homer game for a Kansas player since May 15, 2016, when Colby Wright connected for two dingers at Kansas State.
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